The present work from the Mulatham series is an iconic image of heroism for Ayman Baalbaki. These freedom fighters or 'fedayeen', as they are commonly known, occupy an important part of his artistic oeuvre. His war-stricken childhood during the Lebanese Civil War translates into the portrayal of these deeply personal icons. Flooding his canvases with colour, these emotive portraits
result from an unfortunate familiarity with the loss and devastation of war. 'The chaos of the War allowed us to become ourselves.' (R. Issa, Ayman Baalbaki, Beirut Again and Again, London 2011, p. 16). This empowered subject matter is reflected through the temperament with which he paints. His anger and violence provides the ammunition for a rich artistic departure, influencing both the technique and development of his style.
The scowling veiled man in this work is seen portrayed with an unusual visual paradox. The floral silhouettes which occupy the backdrop around his head are reminiscent of the coloured floral textiles worn by Baalbaki's mother and grandmother. Considering this to be the feminine side of his work, he describes a deeper rooted meaning to their incorporation. 'It is as if the younger generation is unconsciously carrying the new political ideology and erasing the shame associated with their parents' costumes.' (idem, p.16). It is the numerous dimensions and layers of emotional, political and creative process that form the textured, energetic essence of Ayman Baalbaki's canvases. The present work is one of his most captivating and largest compositions that stands out from his sought-after Mulatham series.